TORONTO -- Mats Sundin exceeded his own expectations after missing a month.
"I was a little worried before the game about how it was going to go, but it went better than I thought," Sundin said.
Sundin fractured his left orbital bone when he was struck in the face by a puck in the season opener against Ottawa on Oct. 5. He returned to practice Wednesday, and wore a visor against Tampa Bay.
"It feels all right. You have to constantly wipe off the water, but it's something you have to get used to," Sundin said. "I'm going to have to wear it for the next three weeks, and hopefully I can keep it on for the remainder of the year."
The Toronto captain helped Jeff O'Neill end an eight-game goal drought by assisting on the first goal. Sundin then gave Toronto a 3-1 lead in the second period.
"He was huge right from the start," rookie Alexander Steen said.
Dan Boyle and Vincent Lecavalier scored third-period goals for the Lightning, who lost their third straight. Tampa Bay almost rallied to tie it with two goals in the third, but received three penalties in the final minutes.
"We had them on the run. We absolutely just blew ourselves up," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said
Toronto goalie Ed Belfour made 33 saves.
Sundin received a loud ovation in the pregame introductions.
O'Neill scored midway through the first after converting Sundin's pass from behind the net.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead with 28 seconds left in the period after Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis received a double minor for high-sticking and drawing blood from Tucker, who shrugged off the cut and scored his sixth goal.
Evgeny Artyukhin cut it to 2-1 with his first goal of his NHL career by converting a pass from behind the net. Artyukhin got the puck from one of the officials.
But Toronto took scored twice in the period. Sundin, sliding on one knee, scored from the side of the net after receiving a pass from O'Neill, and Steen had an unassisted goal after a Tampa Bay turnover.
Boyle cut it 4-2 with a power-play goal just 52 seconds into the third, and Lecavalier tipped Dave Andreychuk pass on the power play past Belfour at 9:01.
Kilger scored into an empty net with three seconds left.
|Mats Sundin is enjoying his goal after returning from an eye injury sustained in the season opener. (AP)|
|Tampa Bay (7-6-2)||0||1||2||3|
|Toronto (7-5-2) «||2||2||1||5|
Save Pct.: .917
Toronto Maple Leafs Blue/White
$119.95 Shop Now!
|10:40||Power Play - Jeff O'Neill (5), Wrist Shot - Assists: Mats Sundin and Bryan McCabe|
|19:32||Power Play - Darcy Tucker (6), Slap Shot - Assist: Eric Lindros|
|03:52||Evgeny Artyukhin, Snap Shot - Assists: Nick Tarnasky and Dan Boyle|
|13:17||Mats Sundin, Snap Shot - Assists: Jeff O'Neill and Ken Klee|
|17:14||Alexander Steen (6), Wrist Shot - Unassisted.|
|00:54||Power Play - Dan Boyle (4), Snap Shot - Assists: Vaclav Prospal and Vincent Lecavalier|
|09:01||Power Play - Vincent Lecavalier (10), Snap Shot - Assists: Dave Andreychuk and Brad Richards|
|19:57||Chad Kilger, Empty Net - Unassisted.|
|01:59||Khavanov: High sticking - 2 min.|
|04:47||Lindros: Delaying Game - 2 min.|
|10:23||Sarich: Interference - 2 min.|
|15:44||St. Louis: High sticking - 4 min.|
|04:19||Ponikarovsky: Hooking - 2 min.|
|11:13||St. Louis: High sticking - 2 min.|
|19:09||Kilger: High sticking - 2 min.|
|04:43||Lindros: Holding - 2 min.|
|08:09||Allison: Hooking - 2 min.|
|08:40||Belfour: Slashing - 2 min.|
|12:40||Lecavalier: Hooking - 2 min.|
|14:03||Sydor: High sticking - 2 min.|
|16:47||Sydor: High sticking - 4 min.|
|19:32||Kaberle: Interference - 2 min.|
|SHOTS ON GOAL|
|Attendance - 19290|
|Game Time - 60:00|
|Referees - Rob Shick, Kelly Sutherland|
|Line Judges - Derek Nansen, Lyle Seitz|